Wednesday, December 26, 2012

merry christmas! :: a quick little recap

Happy day after Christmas! 

We celebrated the last few days by enjoying long, drawn out meals and conversations with family, 
reading + meditating on the Christmas story and celebrating with community,  
playing in a crazy snow blizzard, and 
remembering memories of Christmases in the past and thinking about Christmases to come. 

Our last few days have been so simple and restful.  

From our family to yours, I wish you a beautiful, beautiful time as we close out 2012 and look ahead to 2013! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

our cozy week

as life changes for me, i'm learning to appreciate the simple things.  the way hot steam come off my first cup of coffee.  the way my baby's little toes sound as they scoot around on the wood floors.  our pup's loud sigh as she settles into a mid-morning nap.  the beautiful, white and heavy snow hanging on tree branches.  i'm so thankful i'm able to slow down in this busy season to really see everything around me.    

it is a chilly and cozy week so far for us.  

we're learning how to climb and stand on literally anything and everything.  (i just love that cute little baby booty)

we've started lighting candles every morning while we get ready for our day.  our house is full of the scent of pine + evergreen + cinnamon.  

i'm not really one to go shopping all the time, but lately we've been taking little trips to the store to get out of the house.  i may have purposely forgotten milk the last time we went to the grocery store so we would have to take another trip back later in the week ... 

every afternoon, i find myself indulging in cup after cup of hot tea.  i haven't found a favorite yet, but this holiday blend is pretty good.  (especially when paired with an oatmeal cookie ... )

i hope you're all feeling loved and blessed this week!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

grace for the good girl: #thesamepage week 3

while reading grace for the good girl, one word keeps popping back into my mind -- fear.  fear of not being enough. fear of unknown. fear of failure.  chapters 6-8 really hit on a lot of different masks i have hid behind throughout life because of certain fears i have.

chapter 6 : the rule follower {fear of not being good enough + falling short}
growing up, i was taught that you follow all the rules.  for some reason, i never rebelled against this.  i had this innate fear of not being ___ enough (fill in the blank), so I tried to control my life and any outcomes or situations by abiding to "all the rules".  usually, these rules were ones that i made up in my head at the time.  a "good girl" always smiled and never had anything negative to say.  a "good girl" always was extra helpful to those in need.  a "good girl" should always look nice on the outside, even if she wasn't feeling so nice on the inside.  the author, emily, talks about rules being a "fickle friend and burdensome".  we all know it's hard to keep all the rules, all the time.  and, when we just feel like we don't measure up or we fall short, it's like a heavy weigh is put on our shoulders.  for some reason, along the path of becoming a christian, i decided to adapt my way of "rule following" to how i lived my new christian life.  this mask of discipline and rule following robbed me of being able to see and experience god's true character and understand my need for a savior.  i'm just starting to realize that i can never live up to the expectations and rules i put on myself, nor does god want me to.  i have been shown that this life is about becoming less and accepting shortcomings, failures, and messes.  it's about accepting that we are never enough, but our savior is and we desperately need him.  there is such great, great beauty in this realization!!

"the law was designed to expose our heart condition, to make us see our guilt.  it was never meant to make us righteous." (62)

chapter 7 : hiding behind strength and responsibility {fear of weakness}
oh boy, this is a big one for me.  who doesn't want to appear strong and put together?  who doesn't want to take care of everyone else?  this tends to turn into an unhealthy area of my life for me and i think it stems back to my childhood.  my older sister is autistic, so i felt this intense need to be extremely responsible and mature from a very young age.  i didn't want to cause any more trouble or worry for my parents and i needed to prevent any stress that could potentially happen.  so, i was the sweet, little girl that was quiet and read a lot of books by herself.  whenever i had a problem, i struggled because all i could think about is how i couldn't struggle or complain because i had it so much better compared to my sister.

man, this is a hard act to keep up.  i really didn't want to admit or appear weak.  after becoming a christian, i learned how this world is backwards in thinking about strength.  emily stated it well by saying, "... weakness is the door to strength and jesus calls us to a life of weakness so that he can be strong." (72)  at first, i wasn't able to give up my control and need to be strong and responsible because it gave me a sense of importance.  but, i've gradually realized i'm only serving myself through this perspective and when i allow my weakness to come through, i am able to be closer to jesus and show others more of him.

this walk with jesus and understanding our true sense of self in him is so intricately humbling and vulnerable.  i feel so incredibly blessed and speechless that i don't have to keep "all the rules" or be "all the things" because he is enough and he is the one that wants my attention and life.

Monday, December 3, 2012

our weekend :: the holidays are here!

i keep pinching myself ... really, did thanksgiving just happen?  is christmas less than a month away?

i just love this time of year.  i feel so giddy about everything.  i find myself making mental lists of different gifts i want to make for people, bakery treats i want to make, and family traditions i want to start with our tiny family this year.  i have multiple different plans for our decor and christmas tree ... not to mention the different ideas i have to celebrate advent throughout all of december.  the lists, christmas music and extra sugary treats sweep me up in a euphoria of tinsel and craziness.

thankfully, last night i had some quiet time in a still house.  i found myself thinking of past christmases as a little girl and all of the new traditions to come.  the to-do lists and expectations began to sort themselves out as i realized the importance of slowing down.  slowing down to actually soak up and enjoy this time of year.  slowing down to actually contemplate and understand advent.


this weekend we had some much needed family time.  on friday night, we went to our town's christmas celebration called "dickens of a christmas".  all of the shop windows are full of people in costumes acting out various classic christmas scenes, traveling musicians are caroling or playing instruments walking up and down the streets, and there are plenty of christmas cookies and hot cider.  it definitely feels like you are transported back in time.  i love it.

then, on saturday we went out with my husband's family to search for some christmas trees.  they have gone to the same place for 20 years to cut down their christmas trees.  it's fun to hike through the woods and try to spot the best tree.  my husband's favorite part, of course, is cutting it down and having to drag it to the car.  :)

our tree is currently up in our dining room, waiting to be decorated.  i'm looking forward to tackling it tonight!

i hope you're enjoying the beginning of this beautiful holiday season.